Audiences should be used to this as the recent era of Hollywood films have firmly embraced this technology. No longer do we see flying monsters pulled via string or model cars smashed together like Matchbox toys. In echoing the disaster genre made popular in the 1970s, San Andreas surrounds its cardboard cut-out characters with a CGI cataclysm worthy of note.
After a shattering earthquake nearly destroys California, its populace is in disarray. One is helicopter pilot Ray (Dwayne Johnson). Desperate to search for his missing daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario), he enlists the help of ex-wife Emma (Carla Gugino). Sifting through the ruins of the devastated landscape, Ray’s life turns awry amidst nature’s fury.
Those who have seen Towering Inferno, 2012 and countless others will know what to expect with San Andreas. Johnson plays the stoic hero with ease whilst his fellow cast do their best to not upstage him. Even his huge presence is dwarfed by the scale of destruction courtesy of the writers however. Calling San Andreas entertaining fun may sound ghoulish but one has to admire the creativity gone in crafting the many death-defying scenarios. Tension is keenly felt even if the cheesy script feels familiar with some dazzling action sequences.
The real star of San Andreas is the CGI. Buildings shake and water envelopes the characters with disturbing realism. Brad Peyton directs these scenes with a computer programmer’s eye but shows flair in handling the story’s subplots. The characters aren’t particularly memorable although they have a semblance of intelligence making one care for their fate.
San Andreas is silly nonsense and proud of it. If you’ve seen similar films then déjà vu may set in. It provides a wild escapist ride only mega-bucks can buy although one hopes Hollywood’s talent for predicting the future fails in this case.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 6